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Dear Overwhelmed Freshmen at UMass: Three Simple Habits That Will Make College Feel Less Like a Juggling Act

This article is written by a student writer from the Her Campus at U Mass Amherst chapter.

College students are some of the closest things to superheroes that I know. After kicking off my freshman year I was quickly overwhelmed by the academic, financial, and extracurricular pressures I was met with. I worked hard and found success all throughout grade school, but nothing could have prepared me for the expectations that come with higher education. Looking around at my peers, I couldn’t understand how everyone seemed to have it all together. My closest friends, who lived in the same building and joined the same sorority I did, seemed to perfectly manage a 4.0 GPA, an active social life, and extracurricular demands. I soon realized that one thing was holding me back: myself. All my life there was always someone there holding my hand, whether it was my teachers or my parents. Suddenly, all I had was myself. I had to relearn productivity and self-discipline. Luckily, there are tools out there so you don’t have to rely on yourself to hold your own hand and give you that extra push to succeed. 

Make Quizlet Your Best Friend

You probably could’ve predicted this one. Quizlet was my study buddy all throughout high school, but I just figured I would outgrow the app after graduation. Well, I’m here to tell you that you never will. Quizlet makes studying really efficient so you’re not up all night cramming before your exam. It’s especially helpful when you just need to memorize a lot in a little amount of time. Okay, I promise this isn’t sponsored by Quizlet. Just make Quizlet your best friend and stop letting your exams disturb your peace. They don’t have to.

Utilize Google Calendar

Boy, do I wish I hopped on this train sooner! I’ll be the first to admit that using your own brain as a personal filing cabinet can be exhausting. In fact, it’s so exhausting that it might actually prevent you from getting anything done at all. This has often been the case for me. You already have so much on your plate, don’t put extra pressure on yourself to keep track of the million and one things you have to get done. There are lots of tools within Google Calendar to easily organize your assignments, meetings, and plans.

Get a job On Campus

This one is based on my personal experience. If you’re going to work during college, it might be better to work somewhere on campus rather than off. Take it from me, I’ve done both. At the same time, even. I was lucky enough to land a job less than a minute from my freshman-year dorm. I would consider it the most manageable job I have ever worked or come across. My job, and likely many others, allow you to pick your own shifts and work as few as two shifts per week. On-campus jobs are usually flexible because management knows that employees are college students with busy schedules that are often changing. Don’t worry too much about whether getting a job while in school will prevent you from succeeding academically and maintaining a social life, because that definitely isn’t always the case.

College is usually the first time we’re on our own. It can be difficult to balance all of the pressures we have to face. I’m halfway through my four years and am just starting to figure it out. These are just three tools that are there to help you out; there are endless resources and strategies out there designed to make life as a college student easier. One of the most important skills to learn is how to give yourself a break. You are just one person and finding a healthy balance in your life isn’t something you need to figure out all alone.

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Isabel Persuitte

U Mass Amherst '25

Isabel is a Junior Communications and Journalism major concentrating in Public Relations at UMass. She has a passion for all things fashion, entertainment and culture. Her favorite pastimes include watching movies, taking photos and exploring coffee shops and hidden gems around Amherst!